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Throwing Away Food after Simcha

As follow up to question of bal tashchit at a simcha, is one obligated to make sure that food is distributed to poor, or is there no obligation if it’s more costly to save the food and distribute it, or even to take it home or give away to family, friends and guests?
If there is no obligation is there din in shamayim for allowing food not to be given to poor if it’s possible to, even at great cost?
Is the workers or other people throwing food in garbage an active action?
What’s Rav Sheinberg’s, shlita, view?
Tizku l’mitzvot and thanks for your very prompt response!


Throwing away food without cause is a problem of bal tashchis.

However, there is no obligation to go to great lengths to avoid food being thrown away. As Poskim write (Iggros Moshe, vol. 2, Yoreh De’ah 174:3, and Minchas Yitzchak, vol. 3, no. 45; see also Chazon Ish on Rambam, Melachim 6:8), the prohibition of bal tashchis applies only to an active deed, and not to a passive (lack of) action. The situation whereby food is left over after a wedding is “passive.”

Usually, the caterer (if there is one) has an arrangement with a tzedakah organization to give away the leftover food, and this is certainly a good arrangement. However, there is no obligtation to give the food to tzedakah, and the food can certainly be kept for the family.

If a great cost is involved, there is no obligation (as noted), and there is no din shamayim on this.

I have note heard of Rav Scheinberg’s opinion on this matter.

Best wishes.

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1 Comment

  1. As it says in the sefer A Gadol in our Midst, Rav Scheinberg zatzal was very makpid about the prohibition of bal tashchis. When he drank something, he was makpid to either finish every last drop in his cup or give it to someone else to finish.

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